Tony Marchant has looked into cases and documents of the time to give us this fantastic new series, producing something along the lines of the Casualty 1909 type programmes and City of Vice. The legendary William Garrow is here played by Andrew Buchan, and his mentor Southouse by Alun Armstrong. William Garow may not been known by many today, but when people talk about the fairness of British law then we have Garrow to thank. In a time where trials were quickly over and many were wrongly convicted Garrow set about and in ten years achieved to change the face of our justice system for ever. By questionning prosecution witnesses and putting his clients' cases forcefully forward people who would once have been convicted were being acquitted.
Garrow gave us the adversarial system also used in the US and in other countries since, banishing the old type inquisitorial system. By winning numerous cases Garrow gave us the system still in use today and thus helped to promote human rights. The cases in this series will have you wondering how anyone managed to be acquitted before he came along. With rewards paid for hangings it was all to easy to manufacture evidence against people so that a bounty could be gained (remember this was the eighteenth century, where the thief taker was still in sway). With no professional modern police force in existence prosecutions were privately brought affairs and open to abuse. Some may find this series quite harrowing, especially when in the first episode alone we are held by our fingertips to find out if a poor young maid will be hanged for the death of her baby.
All in all this is a great series which will make people think more about the law and our history, a must see.